Advocates in Motion (AIM) in Clinton County has been meeting to discuss how they can make their voices heard on the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Work Crisis.
People with developmental disabilities rely on the assistance and support of DSPs to help them with activities of daily living, in some cases, this could be help with eating or personal grooming, and in other cases, a DSP administers medicine and provides supports to the medical and healthcare needs of an individual.
Each person’s needs are unique.
The average national wage of a DSP is $10.94 per hour. Additionally, the average annual turnover rate is 45 percent, with some states experiencing a turnover rate as high as 76 percent.
Ohio has taken positive steps to improving the DSP workforce crisis. Currently there is a bill, H.B 166, that would support increasing wages. The House supports the bill but some members of the Ohio Senate are not so sure they want to provide even that very modest wage.
Advocates in the AIM group decided they wanted to make their voices heard. They wrote letters and mailed them and emailed them to all 13 of the senators on the finance committee. They also made phone calls to Ohio Rep. Shane Wilkin and State Senator Bob Peterson to voice their concerns.
David Burton, an advocacy representative from Clinton County, said, “Direct Support Professionals are a big part of the daily lives for people with disabilities. When DSPs are nice, kind, respectful and show love, they make all the difference in the world. Currently DSPs don’t make enough to survive.
“We have heard many stories (some our own) of providers treating people with disabilities poorly. Hopefully the government will pass this bill so they can make more money to keep the good DSPs.”
Kathy Smith, another advocacy representative from Clinton County, said “I hope the bill passes so we can get and keep good DSPs. If their wages increase there is more of a chance they will stay.”
AIM is a group dedicated to increasing community awareness about disabilities, human rights, and advocacy. The group is open to all eligible residents of Clinton County. Monthly meetings are conducted regarding topics of concern, self-advocacy training, disability awareness, and other pertinent information.
For more information on AIM contact group advisor Josh (Eddie) Adkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-382-7519.